Chicago Journal of International Law


International patent harmonization is far from complete. In the field of biotechnology, the patchwork of standards governing patentable subject matter is a growing cause for concern. Divergent international standards harm patent holders who lack the certainty of knowing where and to what extent their patents will be valid. Divergent standards also harm patients who face restricted access or prohibitively high costs for genetic testing. While many solutions have been proposed, neither a new substantive treaty nor use of compulsory licensing are likely to provide long-term solutions. Independent licensing coordinated by the WTO or WIPO is a far better solution from the perspective of both patent right integrity and international public health.